I DID IT!

Yesterday I actually became SSI certified! I have done 6 official dives (plus one in the pool and one which doesn’t count because it was mainly exercises) and I passed my theory exam.

I have seen ghost pipe fish, scorpion fish, sea snakes, nudey branches…I’m not sure if that is the right spelling, but this is a picture of one I photograhed from my instructors computer:

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It’s a pyjama nudey branch and is a little like a slug in PJs. I have seen hundreds of different fish and sea creatures ans the most beautiful corals.

Yesterday I swam with a HUGE shoal of sardines. Again, this is my photo of a picture (and unfortunately we had really bad visibility so it wasn’t quite as good as this) but to give you an idea:

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There are millions in the shoal, apparently….

I’d love to say that I am now a diving convert, but it didn’t get easier. If it hadn’t been for the patience of my amazing instructor, Peter, there is no way I would have qualified. This man deserves a medal:image

A few things didn’t go quite to plan (of course they didn’t) but I learned a lot about diving and about me….

– I had to learn to do a back roll (well, fall backwards) off a boat. When water up your nose is a massive fear it doesn’t matter how many 1,2,3’s the boat crew count for you, it isn’t going to happen until you realise you really do have no option.  I’ve done 4 of those rolls now. It still takes at least three attempts though.

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– I managed to get myself in such a panic on one dive I really did throw up. This is an interesting experience at about 12m under water when you can’t pop up on to the surface, and not one I am keen to repeat. If you have a Peter with you though, you can be sick, have a coughing fit, have him remind you to breathe and then distract you with some pretty fishies and carry on like nothing happened.

– It turns out that whatever the panic I am like a small child when it comes to distraction with fishies. (It’s a shame the same wouldn’t work on a crowded tube train).

– And as lovely as Peter was, he was mean too. He made me take my mask off underwater for a second time, even though I had already passed the exercise. I made him promise we could do it in shallow water so I could get to the surface and get water out my nose if I needed to. We went to shallow water, I finally took my mask off, put it back on, inhaled half the ocean, signalled in panic that I had to go up and….Peter shook his head, held onto me and started pointing out pretty fishies. I hated him. My nose hurt, my eyes stung. It was 40 minutes before our dive finished. But only about 3 before I forgot I had to get to the surface….

– So not only did he show me I was capable of more than I thought, but on my final dive I thanked my lucky stars for his ‘meaness’.  The current was strong as we were doing our safety stop (you have to stay at 5m for 3 minutes to stop nasties happening to your body) so we hung onto the rope of a buoy. As I grabbed it I guess the current pushed me – my mask came mostly off and my regulator fell out.  I couldn’t go up, but Peter’s training actually kicked in and I realised I could manage the situation. Who would have thunk it?!

That said, I have spent all today on dry land, reading a book :) I think I will probably dive again, but maybe not for a little while. It’s all a bit hair raising:

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I am quite proud. I have done something that really scared me. That’s my braveness quota used up for the forseeable future though :)

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5 Responses to I DID IT!

  1. lynnbashforth says:

    You are FANTASTIC, girl! I’m so proud of you :-) I simply can’t imagine you doing this even a year ago, before you went to the Philippines for the first time. Yay!

    And many hugs, enjoy the rest of your holiday Lxxx

  2. Well done Pog! Sounds like all of the wonderful things you saw under the waves made it all worthwhile. Plus, our instructor told us fish like to eat vomit so even that wasn’t a bad thing really :) xxx

  3. Pingback: One final attempt… | the pog blog

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